Terry Rowe believes small businesses are "extremely" important to Hay River.
Rowe – the interim president of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce and the manager of the Ptarmigan Inn – was asked about that importance since Small Business Week is being observed across Canada from Oct. 18 to Oct. 24.
"When you look at the Northwest Territories' communities, including our own, the government sector is so huge and sometimes in some communities it's all they have," he noted. "So especially in Hay River we have such strong private industry, and small business takes up the majority of that industry."
That means a diversified Hay River economy, he said. "And it's super important especially here in Hay River to have different options and have some more business owners and different businesses for our local customers here."
Rowe said more small businesses create a little bit more competition, which usually creates better pricing and better options for customers.
The chamber of commerce president believes that residents of Hay River understand the importance of small businesses to the community.
"I do think the community really notices the fact that small businesses need to flourish in our little town so that they can support other businesses and support other ventures," he said. "So I do think Hay River for sure notices the importance of small business."
Rowe noted that importance to the community has been highlighted by restrictions on the NWT/Alberta border because of Covid-19, which means more people are shopping locally.
The chamber president also believes that the entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Hay River.
"I do think that the spirit is alive," he said. "I think it's been hampered with Covid a little bit, but I think once the border is opened up we'll see a bigger push for that and hopefully some more businesses coming to town."
Small Business Week is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship that has been organized for over 40 years by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
Rowe invited members of the community to continue to support small businesses and all local businesses to help celebrate the week.
"Because that's what the week is all about, just saying thank-you, and businesses saying thank-you to the customers for supporting us," he said.
Under a BDC definition, a small business is one that has between five and 99 employees.
Rowe noted that would cover most businesses in Hay River.